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Albert

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  • Posted October 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous story and character for pleasure and for freedom from fear

    I read this and instantly loved it.

    This book shows a young man's unintentional therapuedic "exposure" to those things he fears in the outside world. By choosing to stand at a window and hold a nest which birds have built in his hands, he chooses to expose himself to the unsettling things in life. After spending time in the presence of those unsettling things (the rumbling truck, the boisterous people on the street), he discovers that they are not so terrible after all. His anxiety decreases and he is able to go out and join the world. It's about freedom and liberation from anxiety (and anxiety is, after all, just your brain telling you lies about real danger vs perceived danger).

    He learns a basic lesson in life: To get rid of fear, do the thing you fear.

    I have a family member with a generalized anxiety disorder and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I'm very familiar with formal therapy. "Albert" speaks to this anxiety in a powerful but tender way.

    This is the stuff you can pay $180 per hour for in therapy. However, it's presented in a gentler, more understandable way. Children won't explicity recognize what's going on here. Even the family member who does the therapy completely missed it, and he designs and carries out OCD exposures on a regular basis. But as I drew the parallels, his eyes lit up and he got excited. He was able to "own" the story and write about it as his own.

    Kids will see a quirky kid (and aren't we all a bit quirky?) who discovers freedom from needless fear. It's universal. It's liberating. And we want to cheer for him. It's appropriate for school age kids, but even sensitive older kids and adults will appreciate the story.

    I'm buying extra copies to give to our therapist, psychiatrist and several friends whose children struggle with fear and anxiety. It's a good one to keep on the shelf and go back to when a child is becoming fearful. It reminds them of the joy of freedom, and that it's really not that hard to break free.

    But they'll never know that's what they're learning.

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